Home Obituaries Obituary: Helen Corry Riznik, May 31, 1926 – Dec. 14, 2022

Obituary: Helen Corry Riznik, May 31, 1926 – Dec. 14, 2022

Helen Corry Riznik, 96, of Osterville, Massachusetts, passed away at her home on Dec. 14, 2022.

Known all her life as Ba, she was born on May 31, 1926 in Montpelier, Vermont, the youngest child of William Francis Corry and Lesley Sayer Corry. She attended Montpelier schools and Endicott College.

After college, Ba took a full-time position at the Vermont Historical Society under Earle Newton, a noted historian who served as director of the Vermont Historical Society from 1942 to 1950, and helped create two popular and long-lived magazines, “American Heritage” and “Vermont Life.” In 1950, when he took over as president of Old Sturbridge Village, he brought Ba on to the museum’s small staff to organize visitors and help with special programs. In 1954, he left OSV but Ba remained at Sturbridge under Frank O. Spinney (1954–1962) and successive leaders. 

Ba met Barnes Riznik when he joined Old Sturbridge Village in 1962 as a researcher. They married in August 1963. Both continued their careers at OSV, Ba as Adult Program Registrar and Barnes as Vice President for Museum Administration and Interpretation. By the time they left OSV in the mid-1970s, Ba had become one of their longest continuous employees.

Ba and Barnes moved to Kauai, Hawaii, where Barnes became director of Grove Farm Homestead and Waioli Mission House Museum. Ba took a position at the Kauai Museum in Lihue, where she often met visitors at the door to introduce them to the museum. She also helped run the museum’s gift shop where her eye for fine goods made it the best place in town to find very special art and craft gifts. Eventually, Ba also wrote the Kauai Museum newsletter and maintained its membership program. One of Ba’s favorite pastimes while on Kauai was sunning at Poipu.

In their retirement, they returned to the mainland, settling in Osterville in the late 1990s. Ba was a trustee of the Osterville Village Library, devoting many hours to fundraising. Barnes passed away in 2019.

Ba is survived by her nieces, Lesley Bliss Palmer of Saint Albans, Vermont, and Alison Stigers of Morrisville, Vermont; two great-nieces, Sayer Palmer of Grafton, New Hampshire, and Gaelen Tellefsen of Milton, Vermont; and a cousin, Jane Sayer of Bethesda, Maryland. In addition to her parents and husband, Ba was predeceased by her sisters Margaret Corry Wilson and Joan Corry Stigers.

Burial will be in the late spring at Berlin Corners Cemetery in Berlin, Vermont.